HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s

Rugby: Timothy Agaba's dancing feet could squash rivals

Prop puts blitz in the Blitzboks, who are keen to reach an eighth straight Cup final this term

At 1.93m and 106kg, agile would not be the first word people would associate Timothy Agaba with.

But the South African prop could prove to be the team's secret weapon this week in Singapore as the Blitzboks seek to continue their run of contesting all Cup finals so far at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Coach Neil Powell is certainly a fan of the 27-year-old, who was sidelined with an ankle injury for the first half of the campaign before making his comeback last week in Hong Kong.

He said: "Tim's very agile. He's got good feet that actually surprise the defenders who are defending against him.

"He's really good at working in space, giving himself or his team-mates the opportunity to go and score because of his agility."

That lightness of feet comes from Agaba's first sporting love, squash.

The burly Ugandan-born Agaba, who said he was once "very skinny", played squash almost everyday as a 12-year-old schoolboy and even represented South Africa in regional squash meets in his teenage years.

He told The Straits Times yesterday: "Specifically for rugby sevens, playing squash for so many years at that level helped with the quick movement and changing of directions."


Timothy Agaba (centre) helping South Africa defeat Argentina 28-0 at last year's HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens to finish third. South Africa have made all seven finals of this season's series, winning four Cups. PHOTO: RUGBY SINGAPORE

He played three years of professional rugby 15s at the regional level before making his Sevens Series debut last season in Sydney. He was also part of the squad that won Olympic bronze in Rio de Janeiro last year.

Last Sunday's 22-0 loss to Fiji in the final still stings even though the South Africans, winners in Dubai, Wellington, Sydney and Las Vegas, hold a commanding position at the top of the standings.

They have 145 points, ahead of Fiji (122) and England (113).

They are in Group B alongside Japan, France and familiar foes England, who have beaten them thrice this term.

Powell said: "Like any other tournament, we want to be successful here but we'll take it one game at a time. For us, all our focus and energy now is on our first game against Japan.

"I think Japan really showed their quality last year at the Olympics when they beat New Zealand and other good teams, so in this game you can never underestimate any team."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline ' Agaba's dancing feet could squash rivals'. Print Edition | Subscribe